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Brandenburg Concertos BWV 1046-1051
General Discussions - Part 2 (2004-2005)

Continue from Part 1

HIP Brandenburgs, but not too fast [rec.music.classical.recordings]

Pete wrote (March 8, 2004):
I've heard some versions of the Brandenburgs that sound like the CD is playing too fast, for example, some ensembles out of Köln. I own Pinnock's CD set with Standage which has good tempi (for me). Any suggestions for another CD set with comparable tempi, especially on #3's third movement? Even a little slower on #3 is okay. I only want HIP on CD. Thanks.

MIFrost wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To Pete] Pinnock sounds like just what you want. Right tempo, HIP. What should be different in another HIP recording? I'm curious if anyone might comment on Savall. His Handel is outstanding, IMO.

Lionel Tacchini wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To MIFrost] I used to find Pinnock very uninvolved and haven't heard him in years. For a slower HIP recording, Brüggen/Kuijken(s)/Bylsma/Leonhardt should do just right on Sony / Seon SB2k 62946.

Aron Edidin wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To Lionel Tacchini] Another option (dirt-cheap on a budget Sony reissue, like the Leonhardt) is the set under Anthony Newman with the Brandenburg Collegium (a fairly recent set, not the old Columbia one). Slower than usual-HIP tempi accomodate, among other things, lots of embellishment (unique in my experience of Brandenburg recordings).

Deacontde wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To MIFrost] But the Musica Antiqua Koln adds a further dimension: genius!

Deacontde wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To Lionel Tacchini] Boring.

MAK takes the cake.

If you like music slow, join your local Bruckner Society.

Matthew Silverstein wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To Deacontde] What a supremely unhelpful reply. The original poster was quite specific in his request, but you seem unwilling (or unable) to respect his preferences.

Donald C. Patterson wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To MIFrost] A really great HIP set that is just a bit more relaxed in tempo (overall) is Leonhardt on two Sony Essential Classics discs. Very cheap and featuring what turns out to be an All-Star HIP cast from the 70s. This set has the very best 6th I've ever heard.

BTW, I have Pinnock, Hogwood, Parrott, Leonhardt, Harnoncourt I (on LP), and Harnoncourt II (also on LP). While Harnoncourt may be a bit more relaxed than Pinnock, his set is very weird in other ways...stick with Leonhardt.

Donald C. Patterson wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To Deacontde] Besides, MAK only take the cake if one must run faster than everyone else to get it. While Goebels and company are impressive in their technical prowess, I find absolutely nothing remotely musical about racing to the finish line at Warp Factor 9.

A. Brain wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To Aron Edidin] I seem to recall that the Leonhardt set also has lots of embellishment. We are talking about the one that originally appeared on ABC/Seon and later on Pro Arte?

A friend bought the MAK and couldn't stand it, finding its speed comical. So he gave it to me. I guess now I have to go listen to it.

Mark Melson wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To Donald C. Patterson] You're right, but what a great party record!

Deacontde wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To A. Brain] Make sure you take a beta-blocker before you do.

Marc Perman wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To Pete] My favorite HIP Brandenburgs are by Il Giardino Armonico, on Teldec. More characterful than Pinnock but not as breathless as MAK, though I like the latter as well. Still, if pressed to own one set, regardless of instruments, I'd pick Ristenpart.

John Wiser wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To Mark Melson] You got that part right. We even had someone try to dance to parts of MAK's No. 6. They won't be invited back...

Andrys Basten wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To Marc Perman]
IGA is wonderful, but I did enjoy Pinnock's tension.

MAK is a great antidote to PAILLIARD Ensemble style!

And then you can take the equivalent of thorazine to come back down to normality after that, with any other good rendition :-)

Steve Koons wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To Lionel Tacchini] I replaced Pinnock's Brandenburgs with Pickett's. While Pinnock did nothing wrong, it did seem a little too subdued. Pickett is livelier, but without the manic, frantic approach of some of the newer recordings. No. 6 is especially rhythmic and light. Also, the brass playing for Pickett is the cleanest I've heard on any HIP Brandenburg recording (the horns in No. 1 can be pretty painful).

Lionel Tacchini wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To Deacontde] For me, it's La Stravaganza Hamburg on Sony.

But someone was asking for something slower ...

< If you like music slow, join your local Bruckner Society. >
Bruckner is not slow.

Lionel Tacchini wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To John Wiser]Just the right thing to do ...

David M. Cook wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To Pete] Akademie für Alte Musik, Berlin

Donald C. Patterson wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To Steve Koon] When I posted earlier and mentioned the Parrott, I meant Pickett. Apologies for the misinformation.

Funny though, of Pickett and Pinnock, I prefer Pinnock (though I enjoy both).

Donald C. Patterson wrote (March 9, 2004):
Lionel Tacchini wrote:
<< If you like music slow, join your local Bruckner Society. >>
< Bruckner is not slow. >
(cough) Celibidache

Don
:-)

Lionel Tacchini wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To Donald C. Patterson] Not related ;-)

Norman Schwartz wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To David M. Cook] Not bad at all. Sort of HIPish you might give Helmut Winschermann and the Deutsche Bachsolisten (on Laserlight!) a listen. With names like that they are already ahead of the game :-) and in addition the sound is very fine.

Pierre Ducre wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To David M. Cook] Indeed! I was wondering why nobody had mentionned it yet, since it is clearly a winner. But it might be a bit fast for the original poster. My other choice -slower- would be Harnoncourt II.

Alain Dagher wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To Pete] I wasn't going to mention it, because I sould like a broken record, but clearly what you are looking for is Jordi Savall's recording.

Steve Koons wrote (March 9, 2004):
< My favorite HIP Brandenburgs are by Il Giardino Armonico, on Teldec. More characterful than Pinnock but not as breathless as MAK, though I like the latter as well. >
Il Giardino Armonico's set is fun, but awfully swift. If MAK is faster, then certainly both exceed Pete's speed limit.

< Still, if pressed to own one set, regardless of instruments, I'd pick Ristenpart. >
Is this a current CD? I seem to remember a Nonesuch LP set from the late '60s or early '70s.

MIFrost wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To David M. Cook] Has anyone heard the New St. Lukes Chamber Orchestra version on Delos?
http://music.barnesandnoble.com/search/product.asp?userid=2ZT4U4IOY2&...

Vincent Ventrone wrote (March 10, 2004):
< cleanest I've heard on any HIP Brandenburg recording (the horns in No. 1 can be pretty painful). >
Pretty much sums up my experience with just about all of the HIP folks (Boston Baroque w/ Pearlman is the only exception I can think of off-hand) -- do they ever listen to their own recordings to see what rude noises they are making?????

Matthew Silverstein wrote (March 10, 2004):
[To Vincent Ventrone] Some of us (and presumably most of them) love the rude noises!

Steve Koons wrote (March 10, 2004):
[To Vincent Ventrone] That's one way the period instruments make it exciting!

Sam G. wrote (March 10, 2004):
[To Vincent Ventrone] Well, some like it that way, wat can you do? Tomorrow they'll buy a recording of Chopin's Nocturnes played on a poor instrument prepared a la Cage, with all kind of tinkery and woody effects, and they will say: "and it's tasty, too" . . . ( /:

Don Rice wrote (March 10, 2004):
MIFrost wrote:
< Pinnock sounds like just what you want. Right tempo, HIP. What should be different in another HIP recording? I'm curious if anyone might comment on Savall. His Handel is outstanding, IMO. >
I have a dvd in which the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra play HIP instruments, in HIP style but in very moderate and enjoyable tempi. Definitely a bit slower than Il Giardino Arm, not quite as imaginatively played, but with definitely MORE imagination than Pinnock.

Aron Edidin wrote (March 10, 2004):
[To Don Rice] I second Don's favorable view of the Freiburg DVD. I'll note too that it provides the opportunity to see Andrew Manze playing among the second violins, and that Friedemann Immer, the trumpeter in #2, plays much better than he does on the earlier Harnoncourt video (available on DVD from Japan).

Thomas Wood wrote (March 10, 2004):
[To Aron Edidin] I have the Freiburg BO DVD as well and greatly enjoy it. I like that they play then at the ducal castle in Coethen, where Bach wrote the concerti and probably first performed them.

Immer has played the F trumpet in more version of the Brandenburgs than I can count, but he seems to play better in the DVD than anywhere -- but he still just SITS THERE, hardly moving a muscle (more than his fingers on the non-authentic finger holes).

The Elvira-like lady playing viola da gamba in #6 freaks me out tho....

Thomas Wood wrote (March 10, 2004):
Mark Melson wrote:
< You're right, but what a great party record! >
....and still the most distinctive and daring Brandenburg recording ever. After Wendy Carlos' -- perhaps the slowest of all.

The all-star-Nederlander-HIP (Kuijken Brothers and Bylsma and van Asperen and van Dael etc etc) Leonhardt Consort recording of ca. 1977 is indeed among the slowest of HIP recordings (the first movements of #5 takes over 10 minutes).

Johannes Roehl wrote (March 10, 2004):
Thomas Wood wrote:
< ....and still the most distinctive and daring Brandenburg recording ever. After Wendy Carlos' -- perhaps the slowest of all.
The all-star-Nederlander-HIP (Kuijken Brothers and Bylsma and van Asperen and van Dael etc etc) Leonhardt Consort recording of ca. 1977 is indeed among the slowest of HIP recordings (the first movements of #5 takes over 10 minutes). >
Both of Harnoncourts (ca. 1964 and ca. 1982) are also relatively slow (with 5,i well over ten minutes, but this particular timing may also somewhat depend on the harpsichord soloists way with the cadenza)

Donald C. Patterson wrote (March 10, 2004):
[To Johannes Roehl] Harnoncourt's 5th from the earlier cycle is my favorite recording of the piece. The pacing is wonderful and the harpsichord cadenza is dramatic in ways that others either can't or refuse to strive for. It was on CD for a short while in a complete set that I did not purchase and I haven't been able to find it since. I transferred my LP but I can't find the transfer. I would love to get this on CD and I search ebay for every week.

As for the rest of the 62 set, well...go elsewhere.

Pete wrote (March 10, 2004):
< The all-star-Nederlander-HIP (Kuijken Brothers and Bylsma and van Asperen and van Dael etc etc) Leonhardt Consort recording of ca. 1977 is indeed among the slowest of HIP recordings (the first movements of #5 takes over 10 minutes). >
van Daal, Bylsma, Bruggen, et al? I usually like these players. How is the sound on these two CDs?

Johannes Roehl wrote (March 10, 2004):
[To Donald C. Patterson] I only have the LPs (and the turntable needs to get fixed), so I can't really comment. The #2 of the old set is really bad, but without checking I would expect #3 and #6 to be worthwhile. Anyway, his newer set is also interesting, if admittedly idiosyncratic. Zweitausendeins apparently has his old set, for 10 EUROs, but one probably needs to order quite a bit to make up for the shipping costs (I believe some people here have ordered from the US or Australia and will know more)

http://www.zweitausendeins.de/
(type harnoncourt into their search engine, it's the first hit)

I do not know who plays the harpsichord in either version, probably (at least in the old set) Herbert Tachezi who is also responsible for the wonderfully imaginative organ playing on their Handel organ concerti.

Andrys Basten wrote (March 10, 2004):
[To Donald C. Patterson] Don, who's the harpsichordist on this one?

Opus de Penguin wrote (March 10, 2004):
I'm confused. Are you talking about this set?
http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=5851

Johannes Roehl wrote (March 11, 2004):
[To Andrys Basten] Apparently Georg Fischer, a name I have never heard before (but that's what it says in the LP-booklet). I expected Herbert Tachezi who was the harpsichordist/organist on later Concentus musicus recordings.

Donald C. Patterson wrote (March 11, 2004):
[To Andrys Basten] Georg Fischer

Donald C. Patterson wrote (March 11, 2004):
[To Opus de Penguin] Indeed I am. Thanks for the link. I haven't seen this set in years and I wasn't aware that it was still available.

Andrys Basten wrote (March 11, 2004):
[To Johannes Roehl & Donald C. Patterson] Johannes and Don - thanks for the info.

Vincent Ventrone wrote (March 12, 2004):
< Some of us (and presumably most of them) love the rude noises! >
To each their own I guess -- After all, I find the appeal of hip-hop, "synthpop" etc. just as mysterious...

Don Rice wrote (March 12, 2004):
Aron Edidin wrote:
< I second Don's favorable view of the Freiburg DVD. I'll note too that it provides the opportunity to see Andrew Manze playing among the second violins, >
I was intirgued by this and went back to look for Manze - I couldn't identify him anywhere. I've seen him perform 3 or 4 times in concerts so I think I know what he looks like. Where is he to be seen????

Quodlibet wrote (March 12, 2004):
The Il Giardino Armonico recording is at the top of my list. It's hardly too fast; honestly, I'd prefer if they picked up the tempo in a couple of places, e.g., Concerto No. 6's opening movement, but overall I wouldn't think that speed is too much of an issue. Admittedly, the G-major concerto's last movement is rather frenetic at first listening, especially if you're accustomed to lethargic interpretations.

But if speed is really the deciding factor, I recommend the SONY Classical set from Tafelmusik/Lamon.

La Vituosa wrote (March 12, 2004):
Pierre Ducre wrote:
David M. Cook wrote:
<< Akademie für Alte Musik, Berlin >>
< Indeed! I was wondering why nobody had mentionned it yet, since it is clearly a winner. But it might be a bit fast for the original poster. My other choice -slower- would be Harnoncourt II. >
I'd like to hear what the Handel and Haydn Society would do with the Brandenburgs if they ever decided to record them.

Eltjo Meijer wrote (March 12, 2004):
Thomas Wood wrote:
< The all-star-Nederlander-HIP (Kuijken Brothers and Bylsma and van Asperen and van Dael etc etc) Leonhardt Consort recording of ca. 1977 is indeed among the slowest of HIP recordings (the first movements of #5 takes over 10 minutes). >
There are Belgians too, in general they tend to slow things down a bit ;-). The list of players on this recording is like a kind of who is who in the HIP "movement" of the Low Countries.

c.p. Brandenburger Concertos by the Ars Rediviva Ensemble (Prague) conducted by Milan Munclinger (1965).

Raymond Hall wrote (March 12, 2004):
[To LaVirtuosa] They wouldn't. The Urtext would be burnt, and aleatoric performances, with Cageian emphasis, would be sought from various sewing machine manufacturers, after the appropriate machines had been prepared.
<g>

JS Bach was heaps better than the BCs, for Gawd's sake.

David M. Cook wrote (March 12, 2004):
[To LaVirtuosa] Did the Telemann Society do them? That might seem interminable.

Philip Peters wrote (March 12, 2004):
[To Quodlibet] A recording I found very disappointing. For (more) speed and quality I believe Goebel is in a class of his own.

 

Brandenburg Concertos [Beginners Bach]

John Pike wrote (May 16, 2004):
Jack Botelho wrote (December 10, 2003):
< We have some very distinguished members here on this email list now, and would like to welcome everyone once again.
Earlier I had mentioned the Musica Antiqua Koln recording on the Archiv/DHM label dating from c1987 directed by Reinhard Goebel of the Brandenburg Concertos - I recently aquired two separate cds of the complete concertos for the price of one.
It is surprizing to realize that threcording was issued some 16 (!) years ago now, but is still being heard for the first time by a some late-comers (like me). (I was one of those listeners who came to collecting cds many years after their first introduction.)
I really like this Concerto Koln recording of the Brandenburgs, and the variety of period instruments employed is impressive - violino, viola, violone, violoncello, cembalo, viola da braccio(!), viola da gamba, corno da caccia, oboe, fagotto/bassoon, violino piccolo, tromba/trumpet, flauto dolce and flauto traverso - a showpiece of instrumental variety it would seem originally intended by Bach.
I like period instruments, but must say I am also one of those who appreciate the now famous Wendy Carlos/Moog synthesizer version also. These concertos seem to have adapted well to many different arrangements over time.
Does anyone have a favourite version of these concertos? Are we now in the twilight of recordings of this set? - by which I mean, are the earlier period performance recordings proving difficult to surpass?

PS Thanks very much Jeremy for the offering of music from Handel's fireworks showcasing an example of 18th century winds. Please feel free to upload as many different examples of music as you wish. Thanks again! >
I like Pinnock's recordings. The Goebel recordings were recently named as the best ones available on the BBC Radio 3 "Building a Library" programme. I was unable to get it on Amazon but will search elsewhere.

Bradley Lehman wrote (May 17, 2004):
[To John Pike] I like that Goebel set very much, but the two I couldn't be without are Savall's and Il Giardino Armonico's.

Philip Peters wrote (May 18, 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman] And in more or less the same vein (and level of quality) we also have the AAMB and La Stravaganza.

 

Bach's Brandenburg Concertos: Excellent CDs

Dale Gedcke wrote (October 12, 2004):
I recently acquired 2 CDs of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos from a friend of mine. The performances are of excellent quality. I recommend these recordings for anyone wishing a collection of the Brandenburg set. Here are the details:

J. S. Bach, Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1 - 4; Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; Gerard Schwarz; Seraphim Classics; CDR 7243 5 73281 2 8; (1980, digital remastering 1995).

J. S. Bach, Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 5 & 6, Orchestral Suite No. 2; Ransom Wilson; Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; Gerard Schwarz; Seraphim Classics; CDR 7243 5 73282 2 7; (1980, digital remastering 1995).

 

Brandenburg 5: Kipnis, Marriner, Linde

Thomas Dent wrote (March 31, 2005):
I have been enjoying an CBS LP of this work with Igor, Neville and Hans-Martin (as above) and the 'London Strings' a somewhat august pickup orchestra. It seems the engineers worked quite hard on getting the balance of the harpsichord right and they succeeded, although how realistic this given the ten or so violins I don't know. Kipnis sounds quite effortless throughout. This performance doesn't really fit into either 'period' or 'modern' category since they use a second harpsichord as continuo (clearly HIP-type practice - Colin Tilney no less) and Kipnis' instrument is based on an 18th century one. The long apoggiaturas in the minore of the last movement are also a (very effective) evidence of historical homework and Kipnis puts in some nice ornaments. Poor H-M Linde doesn't even have his name on the sleeve, it is only in 6-point type on the LP label!

The coupling is Haydn's Concerto in D, a fine performance which also uses two harpsichords, one being continuo. I know that the Harpsichord Concertos with Kipnis have made it onto CD, but I don't think this one
has.

 

OT: A Solution to the Brandenburg Problem

David Hitchin wrote (July 31, 2005):
Nearly 30 years ago there was a wonderful spoof program on the UK BBC 3 radio. Surprisingly it never seemed to appear in print, and I have no idea who wrote it (although I can think of one person who could have done it).
As it has never reappeared, here is what I can remember of it. Some of the views expressed are not in accord with modern HIP. Just in case anyone doesn't notice, this is a work of HUMOUR and the musical points should not be taken too seriously. If anyone knows who wrote the original, or can produce an original script, I would be delighted to know about this.

Bach's Brandenburg Concertos are among his most popular works, and are performed so frequently that it is easy to overlook some of their strange characteristics.

Bach presented them to the Margrave of Brandenburg in 1721, but most books say that it is unlikely they were ever performed for him. Looking at the scoring this is not surprising. The exact composition of the Margrave's
orchestra is not known, perhaps only 6 musicians. The first Brandenburg Concerto needs at least 16 players, and adding instruments for the others requires 23, though a few might have played two instruments as was more
expected at the time. It is unlikely that visiting players would have made up the rest. The first concerto uses three oboes and a bassoon. Would the virtuoso trumpeter in the second be content to play the horn in the first?
Would the gamba players also perform on the violin?

The instruments that Bach required were not all easily available, such as the violini piccoli and the men to play them, especially with the unconventional tuning that Bach required. The viola da braccio had its problems because of its uncomfortable size, too small for between the legs and too large to fit under the chin, and because of the pitch that Bach specified. The fourth concerto seems modest in demands, until one notices the two recorders in F and G. Sets of recorders are not uncommon but are usually pitched at intervals of fourths and fifths. The parts are easily played on the modern flute, but there seems little doubt that the 'Echo Flute' was a recorder. A performer used to an instrument in F would have to mentally transpose for the one in G.

Some difficult parts require virtuoso players, e.g. the trumpet in the second concerto. Earlier this century someone invented the 'Bach trumpet' so that the performance would again be possible. Felix Mottl lowered some
of the high passages by an octave, while Toscanini substituted an E-flat clarinet, and Enesco used a soprano saxophone. Players with modern valve instruments have found the agility and security which was absent from the natural instrument, but the modern trumpet overpowers the flute and more so the authentic recorder. The trumpet part may have been impossible to play or to balance.

All, this seems out of character for Bach, a most practical musician, often producing new compositions weekly with no time to spend on any piece unless it had a clear teaching or performance function. His purpose may have been to attract further commissions or show his ability for future employment. Such unplayable pieces hardly furthered his case.

The solution to the problem is to be seen in Bach's character. He was known for a sense of humour and practical jokes, but he also easily took offence or nursed a grudge. His disputes with the Leipzig authorities are well
documented. He had played before the Margrave in Berlin in 1718, but after quarrelling with Emmerling, the Kapellmeister, Bach may have sought revenge.

The Margrave had probably heard earlier and simpler versions of these concertos in Berlin. Penzel, Bach's student, made copies of the earlier versions some of which still exist and are much more playable. So Bach it
seems may have revenged himself on Emmerling by sending the Margrave works that he had heard performed, but which had been rewritten to sound much the same, yet with the difficulty of performance enormously increased.

One can imagine the presentation copies being passed from the Margrave to Emmerling to perform and the latter's embarrassment in not being able to play them because of an inadequate orchestra and without casual recruits to fill places. Several parts required considerable virtuosity and the whole ensemble was impossible to balance. His protestations would have sounded very thin to the Margrave who remembered the effective rendering by Bach's musicians.

third concerto must have been the ultimate humiliation. Written for strings and continuo only it appears deceptively easier than the others. The concerto has only two written movements, linked by two chords on the
continuo. Bach himself would have played the harpsichord continuo, and at the end of the first movement he extemporised the second, for harpsichord alone. His powers of extemporisation were legendary, and the slow movement before the final allegro for strings must have been the most impressive part of the work. The score put before Emmerling fully notated the first and last movements, but of the second movement only the final cadential chords were written, and Emmerling was not Bach's equal at extemporisation.

The Brandenburg Concertos have something in common with the Art of Fugue, as public performances were rare, until recently. Bach of course intended the Art of Fugue as an exercise in music theory. He wrote it in open score, with no indication of the instruments to be used. It can be played on a harpsichord (except that one contrapunctus needs a second player), or on the organ (with the help of an additional player). The work can be played on strings, but strings are not ideal for closely argued fugal textures. Probably Bach never considered the possibility of it being performed publicly. He would never have thought of playing 20 consecutive movements
in the same key. It is remarkable, then, that in the twentieth century, we have performances of the Art of Fugue, which was never intended for performance.

It is even more remarkable that we have performances of the Brandenburgs, in versions which Bach arranged with the specific intention of making them unplayable.

Cara Emily Thornton wrote (August 1, 2005):
David Hitchin wrote:
< Nearly 30 years ago there was a wonderful spoof program on the UK BBC 3 radio. Surprisingly it never seemed to appear in print, and I have no idea who wrote it (although I can think of one person who could have done it). As it has never reappeared, here is what I can remember of it. Some of the views expressed are not in accord with modern HIP. Just in case anyone doesn't notice, this is a work of HUMOUR and the musical points should not be taken too seriously. If anyone knows who wrote the original, or can produce an original script, I would be delighted to know about this.
<>
It is even more remarkable that we have performances of the Brandenburgs, in versions which Bach arranged with the specific intention of making them unplayable. >
Enormous LOL!!! [Laugh Out Loud]

Robert Sherman wrote (August 1, 2005):
[To David Hitchin] Actually a modern trumpet need not overpower the other instruments. Basically all it takes is a trumpeter who recognizes that, while he has the most difficult part and will get the most attention, he is still just one among several soloists and he should match their level. Maurice Andre did that beautifully,

Nicholas Johnson wrote (August 1, 2005):
Maurice André

[To Robert Sherman] Maurice André could play with a light-voiced soprano as if he were playing a flute...a wonderful sound.

Robert Sherman wrote (August 3, 2005):
[To Cara Emily Thornton] ...or maybe he wrote them with a mind to stimulating the invention of instruments that would make them playable!

Cara Emily Thornton wrote (August 4, 2005):
[To Robert Sherman] :D:D:D

 

Britten's brandenburg 6 (was: Mahler)

John Pike wrote (October 11, 2005):
John Pike wrote:
<< I forgot to say that Britten was a fine conductor of Bach. Try his recording in English of the SJP or his recordings of the Brandenburgs. >>
Stephen Benson wrote:
< Thanks for making my day. One of the best things about these discussions is being pointed to discs that have sat far too long on the shelf. Your reference to Britten's Brandenburgs prompted me, on a cold, gray, rainy, upstate New York afternoon to sit down in a front of a warm fire with a glass of cabernet sauvignon and revisit those recordings. His gently pulsating Brandenburg 6 is, without question, my favorite interpretation of what, for me, is one my favorite Bach compositions. >
Thanks, Steve. Sounds like paradise. I don't own this recording myself, but I could tell you exactly where I was driving in my car when I first heard Britten's recording of Brandenburg 6 on the radio, sadly not holding a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, for obvious reasons!

Bradley Lehman wrote (October 11, 2005):
John Pike wrote:
< Thanks, Steve. Sounds like paradise. I don't own this recording myself, but I could tell you exactly where I was driving in my car when I first heard Britten's recording of Brandenburg 6 on the radio, sadly not holding a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, for obvious reasons! >
Agreed, Britten's is an especially fine recording of #6--with such a nice easy swing to it. I wouldn't want to be without Savall's and Pickett's, either, for similar reasons.... Harnoncourt's 2nd recording (the digital one) has a very good slow movement, too, with the graceful interplay of those violas.

Some years ago a friend induced me to arrange the slow movement for two flutes and continuo, for her wedding. Nice piece that way, too, replacing the violas and taking it up a 5th to B-flat major, from E-flat.

 

Brandenburgs on the radio

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 3, 2005):
On the weekend the BBC had an interesting program about changing styles in German/Austrian performances of the Brandenburgs. Furtwängler in 1950, two different Harnoncourt recordings 17 years apart, Goebel/MAK, and the Akademie für Alte Musik, Berlin.

Available on webcast for a few more days. Playlist: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/earlymusicshow/pip/0z5c1/
"Saturday" link to hear it: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/earlymusicshow/

Peter Bright wrote (November 3, 2005):
[To Bradley Lehman] I listened to this yesterday - it was indeed very interesting...

Although I have all those versions except the Furtwangler, I hadn't listened to the Goebel/MAK more than once or twice - but what a tremendously exciting performance... one of the few ensembles to play Bach in a way that makes the hair on the back of the neck stand up...

They play concerto 3 almost impossibly fast, but the musicianship is stupendous and the effect startling...

 

Continue on Part 3

Brandenburg Concertos BWV 1046-1051: Details
Recordings:
Reviews of Individual Recordings:
Güttlers Brandenburgs | Review: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1, 2 & 5 - conducted by Karl Richter | Review of Brandenburg Concertos by Tafelmusik
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Discussions of Individual Recordings:
Brandenburg Concertos - R. Alessandrini | Brandenburg Concertos - R. Egarr | Brandenburg Concertos - N. Harnoncourt | Brandenburg Concertos - O. Klemperer

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Last update: June 16, 2009 01:37:25